Life is Feudal: Your Own is a survival sim like no other! You’re not going to find another Minecraft clone here, that’s for sure! If you’re currently on the fence about buying it or not, then hopefully my review will help!
LiF takes a genre that’s been made all too casual, and turns it into the most hardcore grinding session that you’ve ever experienced, and it’s so damn addicting! If you’ve ever been fond of games like the Mount & Blade series, and you’re also into survival sims, then you’re going to absolutely love Life is Feudal!
If you’re looking for another “punch the tree to get the wood” Minecraft clone, this is not it. For starters, LiF is a semi-realistic medieval survival sim with heavy RPG elements (that’s a mouthful!) where you’re basically just grinding mats for whatever you want to build – but it’s a lot deeper than just gathering materials. Think Ultima Online crossed with Mount and Blade with some Chivalry mechanics mixed in – that’s essentially LiF. You could even speculate that some inspiration came from Wurm Online.
In LiF, you have full skill trees for combat, crafting, and general skills for a total of 60 skills to level. There’s also a full attribute system for things like strength, constitution, agility, intelligence, etc. Honestly, if it wasn’t for these features, LiF would just be another generic survival sim without much appeal to anyone. In my opinion, the skill / attribute system is super-similar to what you’d find in Ultima Online.
There’s a full terraforming system complete with semi-decent (but super grindy and somewhat glitchy) tunneling. I hope you like making ground flat because you’ll need to do it A LOT in LiF – and it takes fooorever if you’re doing it solo! Long gone are the days of terraforming land without having to deal with the ground you’re working on, because in LiF, whatever you shovel up will have to be dropped somewhere else – kinda similar to how you’d have to think about where you’re going to place excess dirt if you were digging a hole in RL.
I did mention that it’s an insane grind-fest, and that’s still true but a lot of people find the grind entertaining. Pretty much anything you do in LiF will have an associated progress bar, which is to say that the majority of your early playtime will be spent watching these progress bars, well, progress. With that said, everything you do in LiF is also attached to a relevant skill which affects the quality of whatever action you’re performing.
Being that it’s a survival sim, you can expect to see a full day / night cycle, and weather effects were recently added in as well. Actually, there’s not just a full day / night cycle, but there’s a full year system which effects the newly implemented weather system! Just more really cool features, in my opinion.
The last basic feature I’m going to mention is the quality system, which is really cool but really annoying at the same time. Everything (I mean everything) has an attached quality level, from basic materials like stone, iron or leather, to the items you craft with them. The quality level of the materials you’re crafting with, your current skill level, your attributes, and the tool / station you’re using all have a percentage-based affect on the final product that you’re building.
Crafting & Gathering
You can’t be a proper survival sim without plenty of gathering and crafting, and LiF’s take on it is interesting and somewhat unique.
You start out by creating your own primitive tools with sticks, plant fibers, and rocks, which you’re then going to use to raise skills, collect materials, and ultimately build your own medieval homestead (or join an already established one).
Getting materials is easy enough to say, but actually doing it is another story altogether – especially when you’re just starting out. There are a few different types of gathering skills, like farming, mining, and logging. Each of them with their own required tools and attributes that affect the skill and the resulting product.
Let’s use mining as an example, you can’t just go up to a hill and hope to pull the best ore out of it, instead, you’ll have to use your prospecting skill to narrow down which ores are near you, and roughly where they are. From there you have to mine your way to the ore using a pickaxe, and this is where things get interesting. Most games will have the materials will drop at your feet, and anything like stone or dirt isn’t much of a nuisance, but in LiF it’s a whole different story because that stone & dirt goes directly into your inventory and then you’ve got to find a place to put it, and yes it effects the ground you place it on. Each of the other gathering skills also has their own set of challenges – mostly revolving around some kind of monotonous grind.
Another example of the super-grindy gathering in LiF would be the farming system – and no you can’t just plant things wherever you want. The type of soil and the quality level of it is going to affect not only what you can grow on it, but what the final product’s quality is going to look like to. There are 2 primary types of soil, forest and fertilized, you’ll need to have forest soil to plant trees, and you’ll need to have fertilized soil to effectively farm plants. I mentioned that everything has a quality level attached to it, and soil is no different – you’re going to want high quality soil that’s been properly fertilized if you plan on growing high-quality plants.
Crafting is where a lot of people get confused, and to do a lot of things you have to have not only the proper skills but the proper tool, kit or station to create a lot of the most advanced items. Most of these tools can only be created by a smith, which is why I used the mining example earlier.
Guilds & PvP
Like any survival sim, the challenges of LiF are going to be easier to tackle with a group of people, friends or not. This doesn’t mean that you’re completely screwed if you want to play solo, but you’re just going to spend more time grinding.
With that said, LiF has a relatively basic but interesting guild system that allows players to share / claim resources within their towns area of influence while barring outsiders from them. You can still be killed within your town’s walls, but at least, your belongings will be relatively safe.
PvP is pretty choppy (ha), and it feels extremely similar to the Mount & Blade style directional attacks, with some Chivalry style combos mixed in. There are a few different weapon styles (1h swords, maces & axes, spears, polearms, 2h weapons, etc) and a few different styles of armor to choose from (chainmail, scale, plate, padded, leather, etc), but the best combination of gear will be based on how you want to play – or what mats you have easy access to. Actually, fighting can feel slow and unresponsive or just glitchy, but once you get the hang of it is when it becomes fun.
Depending on the type of server you join, and how populated it is, you might find yourself in the middle of a heated war zone or a peaceful community of villages working together – or both. You’ll also find that people are far less likely to grief you or KOS, regardless of the type of server you join.
Performance & Graphics
LiF is an indy game, and I’m not lying when I say they’ve done a pretty decent job on the optimization end of things, but it’s still lacking in some areas – especially for AMD users and those with weaker PCs.
Because it’s a relatively big world with complete terraforming and other variables that change the map, LiF is a going to eat up a lot of your RAM, especially if you only have 8GB. It’s also very CPU intensive, and it’s going to really work those older / weaker CPUs. It’s safe to say that you’re going to need a strong pc power to run LiF at full – but turning the graphics down to low will allow any kind of potato to play it.
When it comes down to graphics, Life is Feudal doesn’t offer up anything all that spectacular, but it’s definitely above-par when it comes to the survival sim genre. In my opinion, the graphics are pretty decent for what it is, especially when they’re cranked up to max (which is going to take a fair bit of power). When you start looking at certain textures closely is when you start to notice that some things look pretty bad – horses for instance.
One of the biggest problems that Life is Feudal faces has to be the constant crashes that happen to nearly everyone at seemingly random times. Seriously, you might crash 5 times in an hour, or once in a week, it’s seemingly random and no one knows what’s causing it yet. To me, this is a big drawback because you can easily be screwed over by a random crash – and even if you’re not screwed over, it’s always going to be annoying AF!
As of today (1/28/2016) LiF received a big bug-fixing update that has successfully killed off roughly 60% of the client-side crashes, and I can confirm that LiF crashes WAY less now, in fact, I’ve been trying to cause a crash all morning without success!
On the surface, Life is Feudal sounds like a game that absolutely everyone will enjoy, but it’s not. In fact, a lot of people probably won’t even like LiF, but those of you who enjoy the grind and loved the M&B series, it will be love at first sight.
At the end of the day, I would recommend Life is Feudal if you’re really into the whole atmosphere and the monotonous grind for gear, and I would suggest avoiding it to those who are still on the fence. The gameplay is fun, the PvP is fun, and the community is great, but it takes a really long time to gain any kind of real progress, especially on your own, because Life is Feudal.
- Lots of different skills
- RPG-style attributes
- Guild system
- “Unit formations”
- Land claim system
- Interesting tunneling / mining
- Full terraforming
- Deep crafting systems
- Single player & multiplayer options
- Decent graphics when cranked up
- Great community (usually)
- No thirst…..?
- Poorly marked tutorial
- Will get boring for solo players
- Not the greatest optimization
- Some people may find progression exessively slow
- AMD users beware!